American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Pakistan, Spantik-Sosbun Mountains, Sosbun Tower, Attempt, and Nameless Peak, Ascent

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2000

Sosbun Tower, Attempt, and Nameless Peak, Ascent. Even if they are “veterans” of the Karakoram, few climbers know the name of the Sosbun Tower. These rocky towers are located in the Sosbun Glacier. Taeko Yamanoi and I were with Daisaku Nakaga, with whom we became friends in our Lady’s Finger expedition in 1995. Since then, we have looked for beautiful unclimbed walls like the Lady’s Finger and found these hidden rocky towers at last.

In the glacier, as we expected, there were a lot of unclimbed needles. This isolated place, detached from trekkers and climbers, made us feel as if we had found our own paradise. The wall we attempted to climb was so large (more than 1000m) that we approached it with a pure capsule style.

We spent four days trying the main tower and couldn’t help but give up in the end. First, the rock was so loose that we were scared that our ropes would be cut by rock fall. Flakes piled up like scales screeched beneath my feet in the aiders and loose blocks also made me feel gloomy. Secondly, the morning sunshine melted the upper snowfield and a huge waterfall would appear, usually around 8 a.m., in the center of the wall. What we enjoyed there wasn’t a comfortable vertical cruise but rather a survival of the terrible rock fall and bad weather.

Needless to say, after coming back to Base Camp we weren’t satisfied with this climb. We decided to try another tower, the Jannu-shaped “Nameless Peak.” What we needed to prepare for it was a little equipment, that is some pitons, a small stove and a cooker for tea breaks. Our tactics were also simple, dashing for the summit and coming back immediately. In fact, the “Nameless Peak” provides ideal geography for alpine style.

Leaving BC at 6 p.m., we passed 60-degree snow slopes with some effort because of some solid icy sections. Furthermore, the fatigue we had gotten in the Main Tower also slowed down my climbing. As a result, we reached the crest at 10 a.m., spending more than 15 hours to reach it. For the summit, we dealt with a final three or four pitches of rock (V A2). My first sight of the Biafo Glacier flowing like a highway and the scenic Baintha Brakk strongly impressed me.

At this moment, we should confess that we didn’t reach the real summit. About 45 feet beneath the it, cracks disappeared in the darkness. We were not so discouraged. However, Daisaku was snoring, hanging from a rope, and Taeko was listening to someone who was not even there. I had also spent more than 30 minutes putting up the anchors. It was about time to descend. It was 42 hours of restless work before we made a landing on the safe earth.

The Sosbun Towers could be climbed despite the rock quality. The climbing would basically be the same as that in the Alps and Patagonia. I hope many climbers will visit and try the exciting work in such a “nameless” land.

Yasushi Yamanoi, Japan

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